LeBron Using The Word "Retarded" Was A Subnormally Birdbrained Thing To Do
May 9th, 2011

At a training seminar that I once attended, a portion of the afternoon was devoted to a discussion of bad words. In one of the hottest days on record, a dozen of us gathered in a cramped five foot tall training room, sat around an overhead projector and a laptop whose audio output was speculative at best, and then, via the medium of Powerpoint, ran through a list of words that were unacceptable to use in our workplace. None of which was patronising in any way. Of course, the reason for such a discussion was because of the line of work in question. We were attending said seminar as a mandatory part of our training to become support workers for the learning disabled. Inevitably, in that line of work, training for sensitivity towards the learning disabled is essential. We had to go. (You know, just so that we knew not to call them names. Just in case one of us was going to take the hitherto untested insult-comic approach to the job. Seemingly, companies must plan for that ridiculous eventuality.) It doesn’t take much guesswork to know that on that day, we learnt – or rather, were reminded – that use of the word “retarded” was not permitted. It wasn’t just not permitted in its more popular, irrelevant use as a generic word for “dumb” – it was also not permitted as a means to term, address or endear those that we would encounter in our work who were actually mentally retarded. The same was true of “demented,” which was not to be used to describe those with dementia, despite its obvious origins from doing so. Even when done with the best of intentions, these words was not to be used under any circumstances. And the reasons they were not […]

Posted by at 9:01 PM

Addendum to the Xavier Henry thing
September 18th, 2010

In the recent Creative Financing In The NBA post, I wrote at great length about the Xavier Henry situation. In the span of about 27,000 words, I tried to explain all the nuances of this largely unprecedented and highly unattractive situation, using as many real-life examples and corollaries as I could find. After that time, far more significant media personalities ran with the story. Starting with NBA.com’s David Aldridge – who ran a very similar piece that even used the same Glenn Robinson-based introduction, but who had the ability to get the quotes that a 20-something English student doesn’t have – and culminating in an explosive interview with Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley on the Chris Vernon Show, the story became one of the most protracted subplots of the offseason, its explosive crescendo at the Vernon interview making for late-summer viewing joy. In between those bookends came this piece from the Commercial Appeal’s Ron Tillery, that details the required incentives in ways we previously could only guess at. The Griz have offered Henry 100 percent of that salary with the extra 20 percent tied to performance-based bonuses. The Grizzlies’ proposed incentive package includes: Participation in summer league. A two-week workout program with the team’s training staff. Satisfying one of the following: play in NBA rookie/sophomore game during All-Star weekend, or earn an all-rookie selection, or average 15 minutes in at least 70 games. Perhaps more pertinent still are these quotes from Henry’s agent, Arn Tellem, in which he describes the move from his point of view. The agent, Arn Tellem, says the Grizzlies are trying to make Henry meet performance bonuses, such as making the rookie challenge at All-Star weekend or being named to one of the all-rookie teams. He says only one player out of more than 450 since the […]

Posted by at 7:31 AM